America's aging population is drawing attention to a large health care gap in the country: long-term care. Covering this gap could prove difficult and costly, but there are some ways that it can be done.
Americans in most demographic groups are living longer than ever before. Unfortunately, on average they are not living any healthier than previous generations of elderly people. That means that people will need ever increasing lengths of nursing home stays or long-term home health services.
The big problem with this is that most people in Alabama do not have a good way to pay for that care. Unless they have put an estate plan in place, they either have to deplete their own assets and then fall on Medicaid to cover the rest of the costs or they have to have private long-term care insurance, which can be costly and is sometimes difficult to obtain.
This creates a gap in the country's health care coverage that needs to be addressed. In "Should Medicare Add A Long-Term Care Benefit?" Forbes columnist Howard Gleckman discusses a couple of different proposals to help fill this gap.
One proposal would add a long-term home health benefit to Medicare. Patients could receive up to $400 a week of in-home services with a co-payment required the amount of which would be based on their income.
As this plan would require an increase in payroll taxes and many politicians think Medicare is too expensive already, it could be difficult to get political support for this option. The other proposal would create a new public universal long-term care insurance program.
Other proposals exist as well, but as of now no proposal has a broad consensus behind it in Congress. There are, however, strategies you can put into place now to protect your assets in the event you have to go into a nursing home.
Reference: Forbes (April 15, 2016) "Should Medicare Add A Long-Term Care Benefit?"
If you have an aging parent or loved one, click the link to get a free copy of our Caregivers Guide which lays out the questions to ask and steps to take if you will become a caregiver. You can also register for one of our free estate planning workshops by calling us at 256 251-2137 or visiting events.adamsmillerlaw.com/Workshops.html.